A few hundred years ago, a landmass in the earth’s southern regions was no more than a supposition. It must be there, they said, to balance the globe.
Spanish explorer de Quiros, sailing in 1606 from
one was much the wiser until Captain James Cook, an English navigator, charted
almost the whole east coast of the continent and he called the lot
English at that time were accustomed to disgorge their overcrowded prisons into
their North American colonies. But when the same colonies won their
independence in 1785,
It was the strangest place on earth for Europeans. What they discovered here, stone age people, unimaginable animals, birds and plants, extremes of heat, deadly silence and isolation, often made the newcomers doubt their own sanity.
until the 1820's were they certain that it was the southern continent after
all. Mathew Flinders sailed round the entire three million square miles in a
tiny sailing boat and in deference to de Quiros, he called it
the same time, the Catholic Church was established with some appearance of regularity
when two Irish priests were appointed to
There were few Catholics among the first colonists until after the Irish rebellion in 1798. By 1855 there were 40,000 Catholics in the Australian colonies, which shows that the beloved Irish were still misbehaving at home and were irrepressible abroad.
Catholic Church in
In spite of successive waves of immigration of Catholic people from many other countries, the Australian church has always been most influenced by Irish Catholicism.
among the qualities of the faith in
They were loyal to the pope as head of the universal Church, to their local bishop and especially to their priests, when many of their fellow immigrants esteemed Roman clerics as the lowest form of life.
They were faithful to the Blessed Sacrament. They had an unerring Catholic sense that it was the Mass that mattered.
They courageously and often heroically supported Catholic education for their Australian children as opposed to the Government's policy, especially after 1900, of free, compulsory and secular education.
Their intense personal piety was essentially their faith put into practice.
are some of the qualities of Irish faith that formed the foundations of the
face of the Catholic Church in
point of Australia Day is that all who are present are proudly Aussies, and all
are making their own contribution to the qualities of the Catholic Church in
us praise and thank God today for